Since its announcement in October last year, The Beatles: Rock Band has become one of the most anticipated games of 2009, set to make the Fab Four's music accessible to fans and gamers alike.
Today at Microsoft's E3 press conference Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos and president of MTV Networks Van Toffler revealed the opening cinematic for The Beatles: Rock Band, as well as 10 tracks from the game. The footage doesn't stray too far from what we've come to expect from the Rock Band games, with some new additions, such as multiple vocals in song tracks and extremely accurate motion-capture depicting the band's onstage mannerisms.
The trailer began with the CG versions of The Beatles playing in a basement (The Cavern, Liverpool, 1963) and quickly moved to a shot of them fleeing from screaming fans as "A Hard Day's Night" played in the background. The onscreen Beatles looked very similar to their real-life counterparts--in the same artistic style as previous Rock Band characterizations. Background visuals appeared highly stylized.
The trailer moved on to the Sgt. Pepper era of The Beatles' career with "Here Comes the Sun" and "I Am the Walrus", accompanied by psychedelic onscreen visuals, a giant elephant and an army of drums marching on legs, and a shot of the band dressed up in giant rabbit costumes.
We finally got to see some gameplay footage, revealing three vocalists singing simultaneously on the same track. We can probably guess this feature has been added to accommodate Beatles harmonies. Behind the track highway, there was also footage of The Beatles playing on stage, in various locations, such as the rooftop of Abbey Road, under the sea for "Octopus's Garden" and in a recording studio. The band members' mannerisms were also very realistic; for example, Paul and John often sang together on the same mic.
The artwork on the individual and band performance indicators also changed; for example, it depicted floral patterns for The Beatles's Sgt. Pepper era. The CG Beatles also aged extremely accurately--one shot revealed John wearing his signature round glasses and shaggy hair, while the other Beatles sport very scruffy beards.
The Beatles: Rock Band will include 45 songs, including the 10 tracks announced during the press conference. The game also featured replicas of the band's real instruments, including John Lennon's Rickenbacker 325 guitar, Paul McCartney’s Hofner bass, George Harrison’s Gretsch Duo Jet guitar, and Ringo Starr’s drums with classic black oyster pearl finish, as well as a Ludwig-branded Beatles kick drum head. It's out September 9, 2009.
Stay tuned for our full hands-on impressions from E3 2009.